I want to talk about mistakes today; it’s coming up with a lot of my clients right now.

Mistakes are natural. They are a part of life. We don’t know what we don’t know, after all. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning and progress: it’s the raw material our evolution and growth are fashioned from.  Trying something and getting an unexpected outcome; then adjusting our approach is the positive upside to mistakes. They are how we get to know more. Do better. Be better.

However, one of my favourite authors Paulo Coelho wrote: a mistake repeated more than once is a decision”. I’ve got to say I think there’s a lot of merit in this perspective.

When people get caught out there can be a real tendency to avoid self-reflection, personal growth and taking responsibility by using the one size fits all phrase, “I made a mistake”.

I’ve seen people hiding behind “I made a mistake” like some sort of magical get out of jail free card when that behaviour has been repeated dozens, hundreds of times. Over years. Decades even. It’s a ruse to avoid looking unpalatable behaviour in the eye.

Know this. That is NOT “a mistake”, that is an absolute conscious CHOICE.  If you are big enough / old enough / ugly enough to engage in whatever the inappropriate behaviour is repeatedly…

(and believe me, in my job I get to see it all: Coworkers embezzling. Spouses cheating (with the best friend). Families hiding inheritance money. Partners secretly selling off property to buy drugs. Physical and emotional abuse. And so on.)

…if you are you are big enough / old enough / ugly enough to engage in whatever the behaviour repeatedly is, THEN YOU ARE BIG ENOUGH / OLD ENOUGH / UGLY ENOUGH TO OWN IT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES!

Hiding behind “I made a mistake”, frankly, is BS of the highest order. It attempts to evade the consciousness of the choice that was repeatedly made.

I’m not buying it. You shouldn’t either.